Wild 3, Golden Knights 0: Vegas heads to Game 7 after second straight loss
The Golden Knights played poorly in a potential elimination game.
The Vegas Golden Knights lost their second straight game to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, as they fell 3-0 in Game 6. It’s the second shutout in the series for Cam Talbot.
The game at least started better than Game 5, as there were no goals scored in the first period. Still, it was a bad period, which set the tone for a bad game. The Golden Knights didn’t generate a high-danger chance or much quality, with just 0.15 expected goals in the first 20 minutes.
The second period was a better one for the Golden Knights, even if not from a scoring standpoint. Vegas controlled play, limiting the Wild to five shots, one high-danger chance and 0.29 expected goals. The Golden Knights generated 0.73 expected goals in the second, their best mark of the game and nearly half their total expected goals at 5-on-5.
In the third, the Wild scored first, 4:21 into the third period, as a pass from Kevin Fiala found Ryan Hartman on a 2-on-1. With Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore trailing the play, Cody Glass was the lone Golden Knight defending.
It looked like Vegas scored to even things up at 1-1, but it was ruled no goal due to goaltender interference, even after Vegas challenged the play. Alex Tuch was in the crease, much like Marcus Foligno the other night, and was deemed to have prevented Talbot from playing his position, even if Matt Dumba seemed to be working to keep Tuch there. With the unsuccessful challenge, the Golden Knights were charged with a penalty for delay of game, putting Minnesota on the power play.
For the first time in the playoffs, the Golden Knights’ penalty kill failed to keep the puck out of the net. Fiala scored to make it a 2-0 game.
Nick Bjugstad added a third goal as Marc-Andre Fleury windmilled, with 4:43 left. Keegan Kolesar couldn’t keep up, and Bjugstad was able to get in all alone.
The Golden Knights didn’t receive a power-play opportunity in this game until late in the game, and Cody Glass, in for the first time in the series and who has been good on the power play in his past appearances with the Golden Knights, was given just one second of man-advantage time. Theodore, who is still without a point in this series, was given none, as Pietrangelo played both minutes.
Glass played 12:58 in his return to the Golden Knights’ lineup, taking two shots and generating a team-high 0.33 expected goals. He also drew a penalty. Glass had perhaps the best chance of the night (that wasn’t called back), getting a shot off on Talbot from the crease, but Talbot made a key pad save.
This was a bad game for the Golden Knights — flat out. Vegas never had a signature period of hockey, as their best period saw seven shots for and five against. Even in the third, when they needed a sense of urgency, the Golden Knights generated just eight shots to eight against.
Part of the problem may be the recurring issue of blocked shots and misses. Minnesota blocked 18 of Vegas’s shots in this game (Vegas blocked 11 of Minnesota’s), and the Golden Knights missed 21 shots. Y’know, the same number they generated at 5-on-5.
Talbot was not given much to do in his shutout, facing just 23 shots against (21 of them at 5-on-5) and 1.78 expected goals against. Talbot only needed to be three for three from high danger.
Fleury, on the other end, did not have the rebound performance he needed. He stopped 21 of 24 shots, facing just 1.37 expected goals, and was four of five from high danger.
The Golden Knights return to Las Vegas to face the Wild on Friday in Game 7. Vegas will look to break with franchise history, as they have yet to clinch a series victory on home ice.